[Tweeters] snowys at Boundary Bay

ray holden rayleeholden at yahoo.com
Tue Feb 7 23:03:06 PST 2012


Well, it's actually illegal in the US anyway to harass migratory birds.  Whether you could get anyone to take it seriously is another matter.  If I saw someone intentionally flushing them I would try to get a picture and call the state fish and game office from my cell.  If they have someone in the area they will most likely respond.  They take their job of protecting the wildlife seriously.  A couple of years ago they came out and helped us stop a tenet  on Port of Olympia property from destroying active barn swallow nests under the eves of a building. The stater arrived; there was a big confab, and the port people who are used to getting their way got involved and basically said but their "just birds".  The game warden however was very firm that he would arrest the pressure washer guy if he continued and the store owner since he was the one ordering the "work" and that there would be a $1,000 fine per occurrence which I took to mean per nest.
 I followed up by explaining that I had pictures of the goings-on and of all the active nests and their locations and would go to the newspaper if any one of them was harmed.  The port people didn't want to get dragged into this so they did a 180 and took our side.  The nests stayed and some of them were used again last summer.  So don't hesitate to pick up the phone and make a complaint.  
 
Ray Holden
Olympia, WA

Life is for the birds.


________________________________
From: Monica Van der Vieren <mvanderv4137 at earthlink.net>
To: Mark Myers <myers5448 at gmail.com>; tweeters at u.washington.edu
Sent: Monday, February 6, 2012 8:07 PM
Subject: Re: [Tweeters] snowys at Boundary Bay



And I will agree with Mark, as I was there, lured finally by the wonderful videos with Paul Bannick and Brian Bell.  My murderous thoughts centered around the lone photographer in the blue parka near the shoreline who was there from when it was foggy early in the morning until late in the day.  His lens was big enough to be seen from space.  We went to the dike area in the morning, then Reifel during the day, and returned about 3 p.m.  We watched flabbergasted as this guy set up his camera in front of one bird after the next, then repeatedly threw some type of orange object at them to get them to fly!  I was really tempted to storm across the marsh, take a photo of him, and post it on the Web for all to see (especially if he was a commercial photographer). 
 
I don't want to condemn photographers who use long lenses- in fact, I have a picture of a woman with a small point and shoot making an owl fly as she blundered out to get a picture right by the sign that warned against harrassing the owls.  And there were many people with gigantic lenses who were politely holding their distance and still probably getting pictures of the gnats on the birds' eyelashes, so to speak.  I suppose if you've invested in the giant lens, the temptation to get the National Geographic picture may be greater than average, but many people seem to be patient enough to wait for the good light and the good shot.  It's really an individual measure of conscience and ethics.  I found a Web page recommending baiting animals to get good night shots with animals acquired from RodentPro.com; you wait til the subject shows up for the bait, then flash them with a bazillion lights, and voila!  You have your night shot.  And hey, even
National Geo got criticized for creating unnatural conditions to get good film with the lion/hyena documentary.
 
I have very much enjoyed some of the pictures posted by Tweeters and will probably buy a print or two at some point from commercial folks who seem to respect the owls- because of course they are just beautiful and like all owls have great presence.  I've enjoyed the stories and informational tidbits and thought I would finally venture out to see these birds and some more elsewhere.  I knew I would get crummy pictures with my smaller camera in the bad light, but I could Photoshop them to some measure of recognizability and they would remind me I was there to see the unusual irruption. It was mostly a good day, but at the end, after watching the jerk tossing garbage at the birds just to get a flying photo op, I was really angry and wondered how much we really are affecting the birds, wandering up and staring at them with both human eyes and big, whirring glass eyes.  If they got forced out of their home turf by competition, they're a long way off
and maybe a little hungry.  And they have to fly home.  One I saw even had a bad eye. Maybe they would rest better if none of us were around-?  Or maybe I'm over-reacting and we just need one less jerk throwing stuff at birds.
 
Just my 2 cents, too.
 
Monica Van der Vieren
Snohomish, WA

-----Original Message-----

>From: Mark Myers

>Sent: Feb 6, 2012 7:25 PM

>To: tweeters at u.washington.edu

>Subject: [Tweeters] snowys at Boundary Bay

>

>

>I was one of the many who paid a visit to Boundary Bay last weekend to see the plentiful snowy owls.  It was an amazing sight to see so many within a relatively small space.  

>The large number of birders didn't detract from the experience at all, but the discourteous 20 or so photographers blundering their way through the grasses/marsh certainly made it difficult to stay for very long.  

> 

>I know there have been many posts about photogs vs birders, and I'm not painting all wildlife photographers with a broad stroke, but the ones that were at Boundary Bay on Saturday showed a total and complete lack of respect/care for the habitat, the owls, and birders.    Instead of respecting the birds' space, it appeared the more important goal was was to get the money shot (which I guess meant flushing the birds from their roost).   Their long lenses certainly should have allowed them to get decent photos from a respectable distance.   One photographer flushed an owl that was perched close to the levee and was being observed by a cluster of birders with more respect and courtesy.  The guy should have been slapped upside the head (I'm not one of those polite Canadians, sorry.....).

> 

>In my 36 years of birding, I was taught that respecting the space of birds was the priority.  Allowing them to display natural behaviors, giving them the space they need to carry on with their lives without unwanted influence by people.   It's a good lesson for anyone observing wildlife.   At the very least, photographers that have not taken the time to learn much about their subjects may want to learn this very basic lesson about animal behavior..........few animals are comfortable being surrounded and approached from all fronts.    Try it with a Grizzly if you don't believe me. 

> 

>Sorry to stir the pot on this subject, but what I saw at Boundary Bay certainly didn't do much good for the reputation of wildlife photographers.  I'd feel the same way if they had been birders, trust me.

> 

>Mark Myers

>Bothell, WA

> 

> 

> 

> 

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